Sunday, 30 August 2009

say hello to my little friend

i know i've been harping about infectious diseases quite a bit recently, and most of you don't give a crap about it. it's kind of like a law, though, people will bitch about their studies/professions anyway - if you're a statistician, maybe poisson distribution; if you're a doctor, maybe your 36-hours-without-sleep postings; if you're an actuarial scientists (hah! i didn't say actuarist. bishes), maybe the infinitesimal number of exams you have to take; if you're a social and political science student, maybe the endless number of free hours you have to spend with nothing to do. oh, the woe.

anyway, i came across a very interesting thing, recently. i use the word 'thing' instead of bacteria, to not promote hatred towards infectious diseases, BUT WAIT! there's more. meet this hardcore mofo: deinococcus radiodurans.

for those able to speak latin, congratulations, you are now a member of the dying species; or if you prefer you are a superhero with the unique powers to decipher latin. latin (wo)man. fighting crime since 1629. if you cannot, however, interpreting this bugger's name is half the fun. deino = super, coccus = grapes, but refers to the shape and colony of this bacterium under the microscope (like grapes. dur), radiodurans = ability to withstand radio-wait for it-activity. fricken. sweet.

i actually came across senor radiodurans while doing a bioinformatics paper, where we were given an unknown protein sequenced from his genome. could this be the gene that confers radioactive resistance? will splicing this gene into myself make me radioactive immune? will i be the next superhero ala the incredible hulk? will elvis finally come out of hiding? more great questions of the universe.

forget about the gene, though. this guy is one hardcore mofo. i've said that? can't be reiterated enough. pretty much resistant to radioactivity, heat, cold, vacuum, acid, dehydration and the carebear stare - having radiodurans superpowers would make one pretty much the complete superhero. fricken. awesome. that, and most bacteria have modified telomerases to propagate indefinitely, why, you'd also be virtually IMMORTAL. oh. em. gee.

but yeah, it's not every day i come across such an awesome bacteria. usually it's just escherichia coli. maybe some viruses and a yeast of some sort. but this guy. have i told you that he's one hardcore mofo?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

u're not suppose to be awed by the superbugs... u're suppose to kill them!! lol.....

ps

etc said...

but this guy's pretty unkillable! and it's not like this one harms humans. just think of it as bambi. would you kill bambi?

Anonymous said...

well... i dunno... i havent seen one before...muahaha......

ps

Muthanna said...

i bet you can just kill it by stepping on it..so much for a superbug...

etc said...

i'd take up that bet - you pretty much can't squash a bacterium by stepping on it because of its relative size, and the irregularity of your foot's surface :p

you can always try antibiotics, though. think this particular strain of deinococci aren't resistant. yet.